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bpcookie posted:
Hello everyone, I don't have diabetes but I do have Hypoglycemia. Its not a daily problem and will just happen out of the blue. Once it does happen it seems to happen for about three days in a row. This morning I ate waffles with syrup and drank two glasses of o.j. Then about an hour later I started to feel sick to my stomach and my a bit faint. I took my blood sugar and it was in the low 70's. Anything under 80's cause me problems. So I'm wondering, why didn't the waffles and o.j. keep my sugar level up? I can't figure out why it would drop. Also, I don't know if this matters or not but for the last few days I have been ill and have only been eating soup and rice. I thought that since you all have to deal with Diabetes that maybe you could help me with this question.
nutrijoy responded:
Your description sounds like you could be suffering from a particular type of hypoglycemia known as reactive hypoglycemia. Although it most often occurs in diabetics, it also occurs in non-diabetics as well. Discuss it with your doctor to obtain a definite diagnosis. Reactive hypoglycemia generally occurs two to four hours after eating a high carbohydrate meal such as the one that you described (waffles with syrup and two glasses of o.j.). If your hypo episodes are a reaction to the type of food you ingest, the solution is to avoid processed and quick-acting carbohydrates or only eat them in moderation. With reactive hypoglycemia, blood sugar can drop even when you have not eaten a high carb meal or, for that matter, eaten anything. In such instances, it may have something to do with a glucagon-insulin imbalance where a lack of glucagon or too much insulin can cause the hypo.

All carbohydrates break down into glucose or blood sugar with the exception of fiber (which technically, is still classified as carbohydrate but is neither digested nor absorbed). As you can readily see from the graphic, glucose is a monosaccharide (single molecule). Table sugar is a disaccharide (two molecules) and polysaccharides are many/multiple molecules bonded together into long chains; often numbering well over a hundred molecules. However, digestive processes can easily break the bonds and the result is the release of the individual glucose molecules into the blood stream:

Some people can experience the state of low blood sugar even if they have not eaten a high carbohydrate meal. This is frequently caused by a lack of glucagon (normally secreted by the liver) and too much insulin; the two hormones are responsible for keeping blood sugar levels balanced. To best maintain an even blood sugar balance, the portion size of your meals and the frequency of eating must be planned out in advance. Eating smaller portions but more frequently will often reduce or eliminate hypo incidents. You have to also avoid simple carbohydrates (i.e., starches) and eat more of the complex types such as those found in vegetables and to a much lesser extent, fruits and whole grains (the latter can still carry hefty glucose loads but it only take a little longer before you get the full impact (i.e., fiber, fat and protein does slow down the digestive/absorption process but these factors usually do not reduce the total payload to any significant extent). The digestion process for complex carbs, fats and proteins takes more time and allows glucose in the bloodstream to remain at a more consistent level, hopefully avoiding blood sugar spikes and reactive lows. The preceding is but one possible (but plausible) explanation. You should definitely review this with your doctor first. However, making changes in your diet to reduce the amount of processed/simple carbs in your meals can only be a good thing long term, irrespective of whether you are a diabetic or non-diabetic.
bpcookie replied to nutrijoy's response:
Nutrijoy, Wow, that was quite informative. I liked how you wrote it in a way that I could understand. So if I'm going to eat bread, it should be whole grain. I do eat a lot of vegies but not much fruit. I have apple sauce but I bet thats not a good thing to eat if you have reactive Hypoglycemia. I guess I need to eat more fresh fruit.

You said something about lack of glucagon thats normally processed by the liver. I take medication that affects the absorption of other medication in the liver and kidneys. I wonder if that medication also affects the way that the liver processing glucagon.

Thank you so very much. You have been a great deal of help.
WebMD Health Ambassador- BpCookie
rohvannyn replied to bpcookie's response:
Sometimes I have periods of uncomfortably low blood sugar. The described breakfast would be an absolute guarantee of it for me. In order to avoid issues I will either eat some left over stir fry (usually broccoli, carrots and chicken) for breakfast, or have a couple hard boiled eggs. I tend to like simple food, but for folk who like something more involved the main idea is to include some protein at breakfast such as eggs, nuts, cheese, meat, etc. If you must eat breakfast cereal, oatmeal with fruit and cinnamon is a good choice. Some seem to find that cinnamon helps their blood sugar levels to stabilize. Agreed wholeheartedly about limiting simple carbs.

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